quarta-feira, julho 02, 2008

ler os outros

One of Barack Obama’s big advantages right now is his ability to command the news agenda almost at will. The historic nature of his candidacy, his newness and the drama of the Democratic primary contest means has given Obama a distinct edge on this front. Last week, he received twice as much media coverage as McCain thanks in part to his Unity event with Hillary Clinton.

Between now and the end of August, Obama can expect to pull this off a few times. His first campaign swing with Hillary, his first event with Bill, his trip to Europe and the Middle East, his VP pick and—of course—his convention speech are all going to receive road-blocked coverage.

The challenge for McCain is not to get shut out of the race by all this. If he is only down by single figures at the start of the Republican convention then he’ll be decently placed to over-take Obama on the finishing straight; as the Democratic primaries showed there is resistance to the idea of Obama as commander in chief, an issue that normally increases in salience as polling day nears.

If McCain is going to keep Obama in sight then his campaign is going to have top cut out the unforced errors—no more stupid remarks to journalists—and constantly nip at Obama’s heels. It is also going to have to find ways to package policies so that they demand coverage: the $300 million prize for a more efficient electric car battery was a good example of how to do this.

The latest polling average shows Obama almost six points ahead. That is nowhere near an insurmountable lead but it shows that McCain is going to have to run a brilliant come from behind campaign to win this. (James Forsyth, Spectator)